Emmanuel Akpan-Inwang

Director, The Lighthouse


Care In The Classroom: Applying the European Model of Social Pedagogy

The UK has some of the worst outcomes for children in care in Western Europe.
Looked after children are twice as likely to be an unemployed adult; twice as likely to be excluded from school; 50 times more likely to end up in prison and 60 times more likely to be homeless after leaving care.
Social pedagogy, a European educational model, is widely used on the continent to guide how the state should look after children. Under this approach, foster carers are made responsible not just for the child’s immediate needs, but for their rounded development.
Comparative studies in Denmark, Germany and Norway, where social pedagogy is well established, show children who go through the care system are more likely to stay on at school and get better qualifications. What can we learn from our European Neighbours about how to improve outcomes for our own looked after children?


Emmanuel is a former English teacher and trained on the Teach First programme between 2011 and 2013. Inspired by his experience of growing up in foster care, he founded The Lighthouse, an organisation with a vision of radically improving education outcomes for children in care.